There's a Wind - SSAATTBB


Avshalomov, David
Avshalomov, David (USA)

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Titel of the Song - There's a Wind

Listen to the Song

Composed for - SSAATTBB A-Cappella

Duration - 4:15

Pages - 19

Level - Challenging

Language - English

Remarks Composer - 

In this work the chorus must be the wind. Not merely sing about it, nor invoke it, but gradually build up to embody a gale-force wind. It is a technically challenging workout for full 8-part chorus. The text is based loosely on a moment in a well-known American novella where a young couple in jeopardy must flee for their lives to the mountains. A great wind comes up across the day, and blows all night. The wind reinforces the drama at this turning point—and covers their tracks. In my imagined opera on this story, the chorus plays an important role. They would sing this piece backstage as a scene-changer, to keep the audience engaged.  In style the work is folk-based. It has simple melodies—short, driving, rhythmic—and uses simple tonal harmonies, except for a few dense dissonant chords depicting choking dust and piled-up sand. The form starts with quiet wind whistling and humming, then builds up through several rhythmic declamations to a climax on “can you hear it crying?” followed by flowing wind scales alternating in the men and women, gradually dying down to brooding calm at the end.  My deep thanks to Meredith Kennedy for commissioning this work, to the intrepid and skilled singers of Camerata, and to their fearless leader Maestro Jonathan Talberg for helping me to workshop and improve this piece during abundant rehearsals. 


WHISPER WHISTLE: Semi-pitched "white-noisy" whistle sound. No actual musical tone or whistle, only wind.

TECHNIQUE: Pucker as though to whistle but raise jaw and lower lip slightly so upper teeth are partially behind—but not touching—the lower lip, to narrow the flow of air and sharpen the upper partials. Blow. Change the pitch as you do when you whistle normally (like going “whew”). Slide/gliss. where marked. Continuous, use your inhale as well. 

CLOSED “N”—Where spelled “cominnn”, “winn(d)”, and “blowinn,” close the “n” immediately. Spin the tone on the long held “nnn”.  

SHADOW VOWEL—Where spelled “winnn(d)” or “win(d)”, sing a neutral shadow vowel on the final “d,” on the written pitch. (Do not sing a glottal start on the A in “wind ‘A-blowin”.)  

FULL VOWEL—Where spelled normally (“wind,” “blowin’”), sing through the short “i” vowel, close the “n” normally at the end of the note.  

CLOSED “T”—When “hear it” has a short note on “it”, close the “t” but do not articulate it. 

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